• Press Release

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Ambassador Melanne Verveer and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky Join Amnesty International For “Shadow Summit” Sunday to Bring Afghan Women’s Voices to the Forefront of NATO Summit

May 18, 2012

Open Letter to Presidents Karzai and Obama To Be Released at Press Conference, Calls for Women’s Rights in Afghanistan to be Protected in the Military Exit Planning; VIP Signatories from U.S., U.K. and Afghanistan

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, [email protected], @strimel

(Chicago) — As the NATO Summit opens on Sunday, May 20, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and U.S. Ambassadorat-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer will join a “Shadow Summit” for Afghan women hosted by Amnesty International to underscore concerns that NATO leaders are ignoring Afghan women. The human rights organization will issue an open letter calling call on them to protect Afghan women’s rights and freedoms in planning for the military exit.

At 10:30 a.m., at a press conference at the Swissotel in downtown Chicago, Amnesty International Washington D.C. director Frank Jannuzi will join prominent Afghan women's rights advocates and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky to release an open letter to Presidents Karzai and Obama. The letter, signed by notable U.S., Afghan and British figures, calls for an eight-point plan to protect Afghan women.

At 11 a.m., immediately following the press conference, Secretary Albright, Ambassador Verveer, Congresswoman Schakowsky and Afifa Azim, general director and co-founder, Afghan Women’s Network, will participate in a discussion titled “The Critical Role of Women in the Transition Process.” Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana and deputy director of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Women and Foreign Policy program, will be the moderator.

A second panel discussion titled “The Conversation NATO Should Have About Afghan Women's Rights” will follow with women’s rights champions from Afghanistan, including Mahbouba Seraj, executive board member of the Afghan Women’s Network; Manizha Naderi, executive director of Women for Afghan Women, and Hasina Safi, Director of the Afghanistan Women's Educational Centre Ms.Lemmon and Mr. Jannuzi will also join the panel. Jerome McDonnell, host of “Worldview” on Chicago Public Radio will moderate the discussion.

Suzanne Nossel, executive director, Amnesty International USA, said: “After the billions of dollars and thousands of lives given to the cause of a secure and peaceful Afghanistan, turning back the clock on women's rights would be tragic. Afghan women understandably fear that a return to the dark days of Taliban control over their lives will set back their rights, undermine Afghanistan's stability and prosperity over the long term, and erode the legacy of the last decade of U.S. and NATO engagement in that country.”

At 1 p.m., following the Shadow Summit, Amnesty International activists will participate in a mass kite-flying demonstration at Navy Pier. Through the end of the day Friday, people around the world can add messages to appear on the kites that will be flown in Chicago by taking action for Afghan women’s rights.

This event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is strongly recommended. To register and for more information, including a detailed schedule of the day's events, visit: www.amnestyusa.org/afghanwomen.

What: Amnesty International USA 2012 NATO "Shadow Summit for Afghan Women’s Rights"
Where: Swissotel, Lucerne Ballroom, 323 East Wacker Drive, Chicago
When: Sunday, May 20 (First day of NATO Summit)
Time: 10:30 a.m. press conference; Summit: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Registration and light brunch begin at 10 a.m.)

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Tweet for Afghan women: #Chicago2012 and #NatoSummit


10AM – 11AM: Registration and Light Brunch

10:30 AM: Press Conference

11AM – 1PM: Shadow Summit for Afghan Women's Rights

Welcome: Debra Erenberg, Midwest regional director, Amnesty International USA

Panel Discussion 1: "The Critical role of Women in the Transition Process"
• Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State and Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group
• Afifa Azim, general director and co-founder, Afghan Women’s Network
• Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, U.S. House of Representatives
• Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues

Moderator: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana and deputy director of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Women and Foreign Policy program

Panel Discussion 2: "The Conversation NATO Should Have About Afghan Women's Rights
• Frank Jannuzi, head of Washington Office, Amnesty International USA
• Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana and deputy director of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Women and Foreign Policy program
• Hasina Safi, director, Afghanistan Women's Educational Centre
• Manizha Naderi, executive director, Women for Afghan Women
• Mahbouba Seraj, founder and director of Soraya Marshal Consulting and executive board member of Afghan Women’s Network

Moderator: Jerome McDonell, host of “Worldview,” Chicago Public Radio

1PM – 2 PM: “Fly a Kite for Women's Rights” Navy Pier

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.